News / Africa

Swaziland King Open to Dialogue with Opposition, Says Adviser

King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Summit in Johannesburg, June 11, 2011.
King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Summit in Johannesburg, June 11, 2011.
Peter Clottey
An adviser to Swaziland’s King Mswati III has denied accusations the country’s leader has refused to meet with opposition groups demanding democratic forms.

Obed Dlamini, who is also a former prime minister, said he has been in meetings where the king has called on his government to hold talks with the opposition about possible political changes in the country.

“I have heard him talk in my presence in addressing meetings that the government must give an ear, even to opponents of the system, so that we hear the discerning view. This is what I have heard him say. I have never heard him say the contrary,” said Dlamini.

Dlamini said he knows nothing about opposition claims that the government has refused several requests for talks about democratic reforms. 

“I’m not so sure whether they have been denied such audience or not. If they have been, I think it must have been a mistake, unless they were forcing issues. But, if they wanted peaceful negotiations [on] the future of the country, this is what we all crave for,” said Dlamini. "The time has come for Swaziland to discuss the future of its people or allow the people to discuss the future fervently and honestly."

At a recent meeting with advisers, the king was quoted by Reuters as saying “some from the Western world have been waiting patiently and nursing hopes that the people of Swaziland will revolt and bring about regime change… Swazis are known the world over for being peace-loving and I would like to urge you to remain like that.”

Dlamini said he is aware that some foreign countries wish Swaziland was not a monarchy.

“I have been in meetings where ambassadors of Europe, in particular, have stated clearly about that,” he said.

But, Mario Masuku, leader of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), a banned opposition group, says the king’s recent pronouncement is an indication of his unwillingness to implement any democratic reforms.

“I believe that the king’s response was misplaced [and] it was unfortunate. It is only the people of Swaziland that have been calling for reform towards a democratic peaceful and prosperous Swaziland. But from his speech, [he] scorned at people from outside, who are influencing the people of Swaziland to seek for democratic changes, which I believe is wrong,” said Masuku.

He said the Swazi administration has stifled the political opposition by pressuring human rights organizations, trade unions, and civil society groups and banning all political parties.

Some analysts say King Mswati III’s concentration of power is so great - despite the 2006 reintroduction of a constitution - that the country can be considered an absolute monarchy.

Masuku said the government has often used state security agencies to crush peaceful protests calling for democratic reforms.

“We have been calling for a constructive dialogue… it is our fundamental human right to express ourselves to associate. But, they respond by unleashing the security forces against the people,” he said.

Masuku said opposition groups will continue to put pressure on the administration for democratic change.

Clottey interview with Mario Masuku, PUDEMO's leader
Clottey interview with Mario Masuku, PUDEMO's leaderi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

Clottey interview with Obed Dlamini, King Mswati III's adviser
Clottey interview with Obed Dlamini, King Mswati III's adviser i
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid